By Mike De Souza
OTTAWA – Lobby groups representing Canadian and U.S. oil producers are asking regulators in North America not to rush into new rail safety rules that could affect the “competitiveness” of shipping products by rail.
Responding to sweeping joint recommendations made last week by the Canadian and American transportation safety agencies to retrofit existing tank cars, as well as to improve planning and analysis, two lobby groups called for more consultations and analysis on proposed regulations – which came in the wake of the 2013 Lac-Megantic train disaster – in order to ensure that new rules don’t disrupt existing shipping services.
“We look to governments to implement these standards to ensure public safety, to ensure their implementation does not interrupt service and respects the competitiveness of transporting our products by rail, and that the pace of implementation is aligned with the capacity to construct or retrofit any new or existing rail cars,” said David Pryce, the vice-president of operations of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. He added that existing regulations were “extensive.”
Pryce said his association also expected a dialogue and definition of liability for accidents to “evolve over the next few weeks and months.”
In the U.S., the American Petroleum Institute told U.S. regulators in December that it opposed new regulations, in the absence of “complete data and analysis” on the costs and benefits of retrofit options.